Tourism Workshop to Develop Local Routes

(L-R) Betty Ann Dunbar-Blind River DC, Pat Peterson-Bruce Bay Cottages, Edith Orr-Huron North CEA and Laurel Reid-Tourism Excellence North.
(L-R) Betty Ann Dunbar-Blind River DC, Pat Peterson-Bruce Bay Cottages, Edith Orr-Huron North CEA and Laurel Reid-Tourism Excellence North.

Tourism Excellence North (TEN) is hosting a workshop for local businesses and organizations in May. The 2 day workshop in Blind River will help participants develop touring routes and build a quality visitor experience in our communities.

This workshop is designed for partners along a new or established touring route in northern Ontario to attend together to improve and enhance the visitor experience along their route. Types of touring routes can include ATV, Auto, Boating, Cycling and RV.

Laurel Reid of Tourism Excellence North was in Bruce Mines and Blind River at the end of March to get a feel for the area.  Laurel visited some local attractions, and met with a few local operators and tourism promoters in preparation for the May workshop.

We caught up with Laurel at Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse in Bruce Mines. They have been working with TEN over the last two years to assess and improve their accommodations and visitor experience. Pat Peterson of BBC&L says, “Working with TEN and taking advantage of their tools, resources, workshops, and coaching has been a great experience for us, and as a result we're anticipating our best season yet."

Laurel explained that what tourists want and expect from a vacation is changing. “People want to do things, not just see things." Experiential tourism is what it's all about in 2018. Communities that develop activities, trails, and touring routes will have visitors return.

An interesting fact is that, about 50% of area tourists are here visiting family and friends. The TEN workshop will explore the concept that communities which have a lot going on and are a happening place for residents, will be for visitors too. Communities need to come alive and develop experiences, which will lead to increased tourist visits and revenue.

Laurel gives an example of how a kayak outfitter partnered with resort operators to design a new 3 day touring package. When bookings were not as strong as they hoped for, the tour was re-marketed as a girl’s getaway weekend and is now selling out.

Over one-and-a-half days, participants will learn the fundamentals of experiential travel, learn how to identify the key players involved in the delivery of touring routes, identify priority areas for development, identify their community’s gaps and assets, and create a detailed action plan to develop and implement their objectives.

Similar TEN workshops are delivered in major centres across northern Ontario, but are now being offered in smaller rural communities, like Blind River. Thus making it easier for small businesses and communities along the north shore to access the same valuable information.

The workshop, including all training materials is $100. Click here for more information.

(Participants are responsible for booking their own travel arrangements and accommodations)

Application Deadline: April 27, 2018

Payment Deadline: May 7, 2018

Workshop held May 15-16 in Blind River-venue TBD